Remember the big buzz over nutraceuticals—foods that deliver health benefits, have anti-aging properties and can even help with weight loss? They do at Palmdale, CA-based RedBrick Pizza, a fast casual pizza chain that now adds antioxidant-laden acai berries to its whole wheat, multigrain pizza crust. If you want to give your restaurant a healthful halo in a hurry, a supplement strategy like this one might be the way to go.
Suppliers tout health benefits galore for “tropical superfood” acai berries, even though scientific studies have yet to substantiate many of the claims. Acai berries might not smooth your wrinkles or help you lose weight, as some of its many Internet purveyors promise they will. But their antioxidant content is for real. The health benefits associated with high levels of antioxidant consumption are so established that the fruit has begun to find acceptance in the mainstream. Even Yoplait yogurt, whose corporate parent is General Mills, now offers blueberry acai flavor combination.
But superfood or not, is the world ready for fruit in a pizza crust? RedBrick president Jim Minidis thinks so.
“We are very excited about the release of this phenomenal pizza, the first ever of its kind in the world,” he says. “A typical whole wheat pizza tends to be dry and bland, but RedBrick’s whole wheat artisan crust has a unique, flavorful taste because of the combination of the acai berry, 100 percent pure virgin olive oil and multigrains.”
It certainly sounds healthy, and this item should have plenty of appeal for nutrition-conscious customers. Better yet, it gives 70-plus-unit RedBrick a way to play into the healthful eating trend. Instead of not eating foods that are bad for them, its guests can concentrate on eating items that are good for them.
RedBrick is pushing this angle hard. “We stand behind our claim that RedBrick pizzas are healthier and better for our customers because they have less calories, fat, carbohydrates and sodium than ordinary pizzas,” Minidis says.
So, not just pizza with less bad stuff, but pizza with more good stuff, too. RedBrick Pizza is positioned exactly where a restaurant wants to be as the nutritional debate intensifies: ahead of the curve.